Beverage Customers Want to Be Shocked

LTO soft drinks with unique flavors play into a consumer’s FOMO, driving sales.

October 25, 2021

Different Flavors of Soda

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Consumers, particularly younger generations, want soft drink flavors with a “shock factor,” according to research from GlobalData, reports Beverage Daily. Particularly, flavors that are unique, unusual and LTOs play into younger generations’ FOMO (fear of missing out), creating a sense of exclusivity and urgency.

One third of U.S. consumers decide to buy a new soft drink flavor because they’re curious, according to the research by GlobalData. Traditional flavors of soft drinks like cola, pepper and lemon-lime in total decreased 4.3% last year, and while those flavors are still the most popular, the decrease shows there’s more room for unique LTO flavors to enter the space.

“These shock factor, experimental beverages tug on the ‘FOMO’ strings—especially when a lot of buzz is generated across different platforms,” George Shaw, beverages analyst at GlobalData, told Beverage Daily.

One example of a unique LTO was Mountain Dew’s Flamin Hot Mountain Dew, which was limited to two six-packs per order, creating a sense of exclusivity surrounding the product.

As seen at the 2021 NACS Show, spicy flavors are all the rage right now, but GlobalData found that floral flavors, such as rose, violet and elderflower, are growing in popularity.

There is an ever-present challenge for category managers to pick out the right mix of brands and products to meet the expectations of customers and keep them coming back—not only for their go-to snacks, beverages and tobacco but also helping them to discover new products. In July, NACS Magazine took a look at the brands driving inside sales, plus advice from category managers for accelerating growth.